Can’t you take a hint?
Mr Ashley, the season is less than a week away and your club looks in more of mess than ever. This must be the worse of worse nightmares for every Newcastle fan no manager, poor players and no buyer in sight. The talk of failed takeover after failed consortium hinders any sale of Newcastle United Football Club as the season lays a week away from the first challenge at The Hawthorns, in the shape of promotion hopefuls West Bromwich Albion. Unlike Newcastle United, West Brom have appointed a new manager in Roberto Di Matteo to replace the departed Tony Mowbray and brought in the prolific young strikers Simon Cox and Reuben Reid from Swindon and Rotherham respectively. In comparison to Newcastle, the Baggies look a decent bet for promotion at 6/1.
Whereas in contrast Mr. Ashley’s Newcastle are yet to appoint a first team manager leaving managerial issues to Chris Houghton and Colin Calderwood. With no disrespect to the two men, who have had success in previous jobs with Houghton as number two at Tottenham and Calderwood who guided Nottingham Forest into the Championship, they are hardly the Newcastle United managerial team many would have anticipated as they enter their first season outside of the top flight for sixteen years. Even more bizarre than Newcastle 6-1 pre-season defeat by Leyton Orient, is the fact that they are 9/2 league favourites. ‘Pre season is just pre season’ as many in the game say; however to lose so badly to a team a division below must be very worrying to every Newcastle Fan. Personally I believe that Sheffield United, West Brom, Ipswich Town, Cardiff City and Bristol City seem much stronger and more equipped to challenge for promotion than the Magpies.
Mr. Ashley has not helped the situation after relegation from the Premier League in May, looking for the exit almost immediately. Ashley has created the mess that the Magpies find themselves in and it can be linked all the way back to January 2008. The Newcastle United owner sacked Sam Allardyce, now of Blackburn Rovers, only six months into his reign with Newcastle sitting eleventh in the table. How many Geordies would take that now? The amount of poor decisions made by Mr. Ashley as halted any type of recovery. The sacking of Sam Allardyce in hindsight can highlight poor judgement, however many Newcastle United fans criticised Allardyce’s style of football that gained him much success at Bolton Wanderers. Ironically Allardyce took over from Paul Ince at the then struggling Blackburn Rovers, who were in the relegation mix with Newcastle, keeping Rovers up by seven points with Newcastle being relegated on the final day at Villa Park.
Kevin Keegan’s appointment provided a rare popular decision on Ashley’s part and Keegan provided the Geordie faithful with a very strong finish to the 2007/08 Premier League Season. This finish included eye catching wins at Tottenham and at home to north-east rivals Sunderland. All seemed to be rosy as the season came to an end with Owen, Viduka and Martins all grabbing goals for ‘The Toon’. However the seeds of destruction had already be planted, with an appointment made thirteen days after Keegan’s arrival. This was the appointment of Dennis Wise as ‘Director of Football’.
This was eye-brow raising decision, why would a manager of Keegan’s experience need a ‘Director of Football’ to pin point players that need to be brought in? Even more surprising is that Wise would be appointed for this role and that he would accept. Wise is a young manager that has shown potential at Millwall, Swindon Town and Leeds United but has not proved anything as of yet to show that he should dictate over a manager such as Keegan, who guided Newcastle to 2nd in the 1995/1996 season their best Premier League finish in his first stint as manager. Bad decision MR.ASHLEY! .
This clearly showed that Mr. Ashley did not trust Keegan when it came to transfer matters. The transfer of young Spanish striker Xisco to Newcastle was the final straw for Keegan who walked away from the Newcastle after a very respectable start to the 2008/09 season. Newcastle had started with a 1-1 draw away at the champions Manchester United, followed by a 1-0 home victory over Bolton thanks to a Michael Owen goal. However the Magpies were defeated 3-0 by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium which proved to be Keegan’s last game in charge. He walked away from Newcastle citing that he did not feel the control that managers should have. Mr. Ashley had now seen his second manager go in the space of eight months and only had his poor judgement to blame. Bad decisions MR.ASHLEY!
Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer both tried to save the Magpies in separate short stints as manager; however both could not save Newcastle sliding out of the top flight. Leaving Mr. Ashley’s Newcastle of 2009 a far cry from the late and great Bobby Robson’s toon army that boasted talent such as Shearer, Bellamy, Dyer, Jenas and Given at the beginning of the decade. Consequently, Mr.Ashley’s squad is full of current and former underperforming international players on high wages that no clubs will show interest in.
The likes of Damien Duff, Fabricio Coloccini, Geremi, Alan Smith and of course the news worthy Joey Barton all fall into the category. Being unable to sell the club leaves Mr Ashley in a predicament, should he stay and try guiding Newcastle back to the top flight making the club easier to sell? Or continue to find a way out of the club for a cut price deal? A bad start to the Championship season would make the club even harder to sell and simply cannot be contemplated or comparisons to Leeds United will begin to surround the club. My belief is that Mr Ashley should stay at Newcastle and try to ‘right his wrongs’ by first of all appointing a permanent manager with the credentials to take Newcastle back to the top flight. In addition give the new manager the funding to replace the ‘big time Charlies’ not worthy of wearing the black and white shirt.
Time to decide Mr. Ashley? Stay or Go?